The construction industry began 2020 strong and optimistic for the future. But thanks to COVID-19, builders faced tough restrictions the during prime spring and summer months. Now, the construction industry’s future is left unclear as many states are reverting back to stay at home orders from their state officials. Construction has always been one of America’s biggest industries and officials are confident that with some updated safety measures, contractors will be able to adapt and continue operations to move the industry forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected construction companies in many different ways. In order for a company to thrive during these times, developing a strategy is necessary to gain an in-depth understanding of your partners’, customers’, and employees’ needs. While re-opening for business, these key people may feel wary and unsure about sharing space with others regardless of safety protocols. As of this writing COVID-19 has no vaccine or cure. Construction business owners must remain strong by finding reliable COVID-19 resources, prioritizing employee health, and re-opening worksites and offices with the “new normal” standards.
Having reliable information on hand is crucial when determining a strategy for your business’s reopening. Focus on getting your COVID-19 information from reputable and reliable resources. Start by visiting websites of construction industry organizations and leaders to check for specific industry guidelines. The best place to find accurate and updated COVID-19 information the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which has created specific pages dedicated to businesses that are looking to reopen. State government websites will also provide relevant information regarding business reopening during the outbreak.
The health and safety of employees is crucial to re-opening businesses. Some workers who are working remotely will need to continue their work-from-home arrangement if there is not enough workspace in the office. For construction site workers, be creative in ensuring that fewer people are on the worksite and social distancing is used. Introduce break time schedules to keep fewer workers in shared spaces like break rooms and cafeterias or stagger shifts to minimize the number of people on-site at any given time. It is important to communicate with employees to ensure everyone is working safely and limiting risks brought by COVID-19. Make sure to listen to clients’ and employees’ concerns, answer questions, and incorporate their feedback into your overall strategy.
Guidelines from the CDC require at least six feet of space between employees whenever possible. Before reopening the construction site, you need to optimize the site layout prioritizing the entrances and exits, the flow of traffic, and gathering sites. Work to minimize the formation of long queues and the buildup of people.
Construction technology can make work more efficient and lessen the time needed to finish work. For example, the use of drones will allow inspection activities to continue even without being on the site. Accounting and other office tasks can be done from home using software. There are also several platforms for virtual meetings instead of the classic in-person meetings while still sharing plans, models, and data.
Reopening a construction business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be easy. However, the limitations and challenges brought by the pandemic may be the catalyst needed for the industry to adopt new tools, guides, and procedures that are long overdue and move forward to a brighter, sturdier future.